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Ramazan Esergepov
Two Kazakh nongovernmental organizations and several leading editors are demanding the immediate release of Ramazan Esergepov by the state security service (KNB).

Esergepov, the chief editor of the weekly "Alma-Ata Info," was arrested earlier this month for allegedly disclosing state secrets. "Alma-Ata Info" published leaked internal documents of the Central Asian state's National Security Committee.

Rozlana Taukina, the chairwoman of Journalists in Trouble, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that the requests for Esergepov's release were sent to Prime Minister Karim Masimov and the presidential administration. The Kazakh NGO Adil Soz (A Just Word) also signed the request.

Esergepov has issued a statement asking Kazakh political parties to help secure his release and urging them to take steps to reform the KNB.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan has said that Kyle Scott, the deputy chief of the U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is concerned over Esergepov's fate.

Kazakhstan is scheduled to chair the OSCE next year. The OSCE is Europe's main human rights watchdog.
Rakhat Aliev
Media activists in Kazakhstan have expressed concern over a draft law on the Internet being considered by parliament.

Seitkazy Mataev, chairman of the Union of Kazakh Journalists, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that the law would introduce censorship to the Internet.

The law proposes stricter control over the Internet and allows the state to block websites.

Yuriy Mizinov, the chief editor of popular website zonakz.net, told RFE/RL that such legislation could be an attempt by the government to block the Live Journal website and others that post information about Rakhat Aliev, the former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Aliev opposes Nazarbaev and lives in self-imposed exile in Europe.

He routinely posts embarrassing or compromising documents and audio about the Kazakh government on the Internet.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

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